Maybe it Means Just a Little Bit More

By Sheldon Vogt;
Local 115 Communications, United Nurses of Alberta

Winter has arrived and with it, shorter days and colder nights. The change in season demands a familiar adjustment in our way of life, as our beautiful city transforms into a white winter wonderland. Conversations of weekend fun turn toward winter activities such as ice skating and snowboarding. Snowmen begin to surface accompanied by young children fashioned in snowsuits pulling toboggans with little more than their rosy cheeks visible under their overspread outfits. A welcomed nostalgia sets in as sights and sounds of the holiday season emerge.

For many of us the holidays are spent with friends and family at dinners and parties, sharing loving stories and gifts, creating new memories while building upon existing ones. As joyful as the festivities may be for some it is equally as saddening and troublesome for others. The homeless battle harsh temperatures seeking warmth and nourishment in crowded shelters across the city while low-income families scramble to meet their basic needs. It is in some of our happiest moments others are experiencing some of their worst and they need help.

Calgary has an outstanding reputation for its humanitarian efforts. We don’t need to look further than the flooding of 2013 which showcased an outpouring of compassion, love and selflessness as Calgarians came together united to support those devastated by the catastrophe. Among the volunteers was a strong contingent of nurses, giving back to those in their greatest time of need.

As nurses we routinely demonstrate our unique skills sets in hospitals and communities striving to maximize positive patient and family centered outcomes. Compassion, professionalism, diligence, empathy, commitment, communication, adaptability, resiliency, hard- work, precision, collaboration, endurance, critical thinking, efficiency, respect and decision-making, are qualities we bring to the front lines every day and which make us some of the very best public servants.

The College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta recognizes “Service to the Public” as one of five core categories in the standards-based framework for Registered Nurses in Alberta. Competencies under “Service to the Public” are aimed at building understanding of public protection and identify nursing care in the best interest of the public as, “our duty”. It is our responsibility to actively contribute to improving the health of our communities and volunteering is one way we can participate.

If there is willingness and a desire to volunteer, there is no shortage of places needing support. Here are some excellent places to start:

The holidays are often described as a time of giving. Together we can make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate by giving our time and utilizing our diverse skill set to improve the health of our impoverished communities. Spread some joy this holiday season. Volunteer today.